Camden volleyball has been resilient throughout its postseason in its run to the state championship.
The Bulldogs rallied to win its final two matches leading into Saturday’s high school championship against Wren.
But the defending-champion Hurricanes made sure it wasn’t three in a row for Camden as they defeated the Bulldogs, 3-1, (26-28, 25-12, 26-24, 25-21) to win the Class 3A championship at Dreher High School.
“I give credit to Wren, but I am just super proud of my team,” Camden coach Paige Wilson said. “I am just really proud of them. Only two teams made it here. It didn’t happen like we wanted to and I know it is disappointing to lose. But we gave our best and I am proud of the effort and proud we made it here. The girls should be, too.”
It was Wren’s second-straight championship and third appearance in a row. The Hurricanes showed their championship fight after bouncing back from dropping the first set to win the next three.
“It feels amazing to do this twice and I couldn’t have done it without a better group of girls,” Wren coach Amy Godfrey said.
Wilson, who is in her 30th year as coach of the program, thought her Camden squad might have been a little anxious on the championship stage, the school’s first appearance there since 2006. But it didn’t show as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-11 lead before the Hurricanes scored four straight points to make it 17-15.
Wren eventually tied it at 23-23 and had its second set point before Camden rallied. Leah Hendrix had the Bulldogs’ final point of the set for the 28-26 win.
“It’s normal to come out tense in the first set, but we hung in there and were able to pull it out,” Wilson said.
Wren dominated the second set, winning 25-12, and jumped out to a 11-6 lead in the third. The Bulldogs’ Joyce Edwards had a kill that tied it at 18-18. It went back-and-forth from there before Wren won the last two points to win the set, 26-24.
It was the third-straight playoff match where Camden went down 2-1. The Bulldogs rallied to beat Gilbert on Oct. 26 and then Philip Simmons on Tuesday.
It looked like Camden was going to have another comeback left Saturday. The Bulldogs trailed 22-15 before four straight points close it to 22-18.
But after a timeout, Wren regained its composure and held on as the final point went off two Camden blockers, hit the floor and the celebration began.
“When last year ended, I didn’t know we would be back here,” Godfrey said. “I know we had the capable personnel but I just wasn’t sure. We needed leadership and the seniors stepped up to do it and brought us here.”
One of those players was senior Ashley Stein, who had several big kills over the final two sets.
Camden finished the season at 26-5 and will graduate two seniors from this year’s team, with one of them Edwards, the No. 2 girls high school basketball player in the country.
Edwards has yet to make her college decision but some South Carolina women’s basketball fans were in attendance, chanting, “We want Joyce! We want Joyce!” after the Bulldogs won the first set.
SCHSL Volleyball Championships
At Dreher High School
Class 4A Boys: Bishop England 3, Catawba Ridge 0
Class 5A Boys: Dorman 3, Carolina Forest 1
Class A Girls: St. Joseph’s 3, Bridges Prep 0
Class 5A Girls: Dorman 3, Wando 1
Class 3A Girls: Wren 3, Camden 1
Class 2A Girls: Landrum vs. Bishop England, 4:30 p.m.
Class 4A Girls: South Aiken vs. North Myrtle Beach, 7 p.m.